Cover drawing by Siena Sanderson (c) 2016.

Cover drawing by Siena Sanderson (c) 2016.

Praise for Blue Structure

From The Women's Review of Books (Sept/Oct 2016):

“Freeman uses the page’s white space to create a wide silence. The narrator that enters that silence speaks as if stunned or clarified by a vision…. The notion of story falls away. In its place, Freeman offers spectral, almost hallucinatory glimpses of relationships…. Stripped of contextual information, without summary or resolution, these voices arrive from a void to which readers return, poem after poem. This speech, colloquial, fresh, has the taste of reality, but without reality’s accompanying furniture. Freeman achieves what few accomplish: she asks readers to step away from familiar scaffolding and trust: we do….”—Robin Becker

From Michael Waters:

“In this strangely beautiful and long-awaited collection, Jan Freeman again brings her rich, lyric gift to bear on human connection, ‘the value of proximity.’ Fragmentary, elegiac, and rife with secrets, illuminated with a taut and exquisitely aching intimacy reminiscent of the poems of H.D., Blue Structure inhabits ‘the iambs of longing’ that compel us to love despite loss and instruct us in the beauty of mourning.”

From Ilya Kaminsky:

“‘After great pain, a formal feeling comes’ Dickinson taught us, and I can’t escape those words as I read through Jan Freeman’s poems of remembrance, her elegies—or, wait, not elegies exactly, but musical symphonies of mourning, where silence is the most important instrument. Jan Freeman knows of those of stunned moments, which like ‘freezing persons, recollect the snow – / First – Chill then Stupor – then the letting go –’ And yet, Freeman also knows the mythology of loss, the spell of it, and in her hands we see those ‘fields’ which are ‘great aunts, librarians.’ We see how ‘pills in the house put the house asleep,’ and how even the deer are ‘stealing sleep from the barn.’ It is a book that teaches us how to say good bye to the walls, to our arms, yes. We learn that ‘hands, like boys, when the sky is blue, disappear,’ yes. And, yet, this a magical book, stands up to silence with ‘voices’ which do not console against the mystery of death, but open it to us. And so the silences are those we once heard. When? Before the language itself, perhaps. Before it invaded our lungs, our mouths. How one person’s throat is shaped by other person’s rages, how each of us stands ‘like a section of a fence, disconnected,’ how we love—yes, love, that most of all—you learn in this book, this strange, wise, marvelous Blue Structure to live with.”

From Rachel Eliza Griffiths:

“Terrifying in courage and grace, the poems of Jan Freeman’s Blue Structure explore the brutal architecture of love, grief, and survival. Freeman writes ‘Blue is above your head and you cannot touch it/though it is almost always there’ and yet Freeman manages to graze and grasp love’s azure shards. In the strange wounds that great loves know, Freeman opens language to its throat and bones. These poems are horizons, tunnels, gardens, mazes, curtains, fences, mythologies, branches, windows, and hands. Elegiac and muscular, these poems ache and sing. Freeman’s muted voice soars, deft and searing. Here, we discover again what exists, spoken and unspoken, about those who endure the full tilt of life: ‘If loneliness becomes freedom, ring the bells.’”